It’s not hard to understand why “The Prom” is one of Victoria’s most beloved destinations. A great holiday spot for families with excellent camping and caravaning facilities near pristine beaches, it also offers some spectacular walking opportunities for all ages and fitness levels.
Wilson’s Prom has long been on my list of places to explore, but as is usually the case, being virtually in my backyard it always seems to get pushed down my bucket list. I have friends who have holidayed at The Prom for years and are always extolling its virtues, so when we find ourselves with a couple of free days between Christmas and New Years we decide to pack a bag and head down to see for ourselves. A quick look on AirBnB finds us a Bed and Breakfast for two nights.
We arrive late to our accommodation at the Tidal Views Holiday Cottage in Yanakie, but our gracious host Noel and his wee dog Chloe are is waiting to give us a quick tour and some delicious Christmas cake made by his wife, Vanessa. He leaves us to enjoy a glass of wine on the verandah and admire the full moon peeking through the trees.
We awaken in the morning to a spectacular sunrise over the water just outside our front door, it’s hard to choose which vista is more breathtaking – by day or by night.
The Mount Oberon Summit is our first challenge of the day. From the carpark at the Tidal River Camping Ground we catch the shuttle bus to the Telegraph Saddle car park. You can take your vehicle to the start of the track but you will need to be early to get a parking spot as there are only so many vehicles allowed access per day.
The track follows the management vehicle track, through some lush treed areas up to the summit of Mount Oberon with panoramic views over Tidal River and the coast line. The track is a fairly consistent upward climb, not difficult underfoot but you will need to be reasonably fit to enjoy the walk.
Our walk to Squeaky Beach from the Tidal River footbridge sees us climbing up and over the headland separating Norman and Leonard Bays before descending onto Squeaky Beach. The rock formations and vistas out over the outlying islands have our imaginations working overtime. Just like when we were children and saw faces and shapes in the clouds, so too do we spot characters in the rocks. Our entire hike is spent formulating a story for a children’s book – don’t hold your breath for the publication date – that may be one project for our retirement!
For our second day at the Prom, we decide to take the track commencing at the Terrace toilet block at the Tidal River Camping Ground. The tea trees growing alongside and overhead most of the way to the sand dunes at the southern end of Norman Beach look like the fretwork of the terrace houses you see in the inner suburbs of Melbourne. The walk across Norman Point to Little Oberon Bay is not an arduous one, and the views over the Listerine-coloured waters of the Bay are worth the effort.
Wilson’s Promontory has a choice of dozens of different walks for varying fitness levels. For more information http://www.parks.vic.gov.au